Coast Guard to Continue Search for Missing Cruise Ship Passenger

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(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

(CNN) — An air search for a missing cruise ship passenger who had gone overboard in the Gulf of Mexico was suspended overnight Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The plan is to resume the search “at first light Sunday,” according to the Coast Guard.

Samantha Broberg, 33, was reported missing from the Carnival Liberty cruise ship Friday morning.

Carnival Cruise Lines said Broberg was reported missing by traveling companions.

After searching the vessel and reviewing surveillance footage, it was determined that she had fallen overboard from the 10th deck early on Friday morning. The crew contacted the Coast Guard around 5 p.m. Friday, which sent out planes from bases in Alabama and Texas.

The Coast Guard said it got a call from the ship saying it had video of a woman falling overboard about 2 a.m.

“Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crews from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, and Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, have alternated sorties since beginning the search, saturating a 22 by 63 nautical mile area with a combined search area total of more than 3,000 square miles,” the Coast Guard said.

“The Ocean Sentry aircrews have stopped searching for the night and plan to resume at first light Sunday.”

Difficult search

Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick told CNN Saturday that the search area’s distance from shore was complicating search efforts.

“The search area is so offshore, almost 200 miles southeast of Galveston, so it’s way out there and very difficult to get to and get any resources out to it,” he said.”Basically airplanes are the quickest and most effective way we can search right now.”

The aircraft are similar to C-130s and are equipped with video and infrared sensors to help search for people in the water.

Kendrick said the focus of their investigation right now is to rescue the victim, not to determine a motive for why she may have gone overboard.

The Carnival Liberty, which is based in Galveston, left Thursday on a four-day cruise of Mexico.

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